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3 Key Benefits of Furnace Combustion Analysis

A furnace
With wintertime fast approaching, homeowners turn to one of the most important appliances in the home: the furnace. A gas furnace ensures that your home remains comfortable during even the coldest weather. Yet your furnace can also become the source of much stress and expense if you don't keep it in good working order.

As a homeowner, you can probably recognize the signs of serious furnace problems. Yet other issues manifest in more subtle ways, and they require professional assistance to diagnose. Furnace technicians often use a technique known as combustion analysis to determine how well a furnace runs. This article takes a closer look at three key benefits of furnace combustion analysis.

1. Improved Efficiency

A gas furnace generates heat by combusting a mixture of natural gas and air. To maximize the amount of energy released, the proportion of gas to air must remain within tight limits. Incorrect proportions can lead to serious efficiency losses, with unburned gas passing out of your home through the flue.

Unfortunately, such efficiency issues often fly beneath the radar of homeowners. Combustion analysis allows a technician to get a better picture of how well-proportioned your air-fuel mixture really is by measuring the amounts of certain substances in your furnace's exhaust gas.

The levels of gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide provide vital information about how completely your furnace has combusted its gas. Depending on the results of the analysis, the technician can then make changes to your system to promote more efficient combustion. Ultimately, combustion analysis ensures that your heating bills remain as low as possible.  

2. Cleaner Furnace

Incomplete combustion produces another highly problematic substance in the form of soot. Soot consists of unburned or partially burned bits of carbon matter from the gas stream. Soot rapidly builds up on the walls of your combustion chamber, heat exchanger, and gas flue. There the soot contributes to several serious problems.

For one thing, that layer of soot further exacerbates the efficiency issues caused by incomplete combustion. Soot acts just like a layer of insulation, making it more difficult for heat to pass through the walls of your heat exchanger and into the air of your home. Unless the underlying combustion problems receive proper treatment, the soot-related inefficiency will only grow worse.

Soot also has a detrimental effect on the lifespan of your furnace components. Simply put, that soot contains not just particles of carbon but also highly corrosive compounds. These acidic substances hasten the rate of rust formation, ultimately undermining the structural stability of your furnace components.

Combustion analysis allows a technician to make changes that will minimize the amount of soot produced by your furnace.

3. Safer Home

The chemical byproducts formed by incomplete combustion do not just pose problems for your efficiency and your equipment's lifespan. Many of those substances also pose serious health threats for you and your family. Carbon monoxide, in particular, can prove fatal if allowed to enter the air of your home.

Carbon monoxide only forms in a furnace when natural gas does not combust completely. The worse the inefficiency, the greater the amount of carbon monoxide released. Provided your system remains structurally sound, most of this gas will move out of your home through the chimney flue.

Yet if your exhaust system contains any cracks, holes, or split seams, that deadly gas may end up spilling out into the air of your home. Combustion analysis allows a furnace technician to measure the precise amount of carbon monoxide produced by your furnace.

Even a seasoned HVAC technician can't diagnose every furnace problem just by a visual inspection. Combustion analysis provides vital information about the health of your heating system. For more information about how to have a combustion analysis performed at your home, contact the heating pros at Preferred Mechanical Services.